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Tunneling two-level systems (TLSs) are ubiquitous in amorphous solids, and form a major source of noise in systems such as nano-mechanical oscillators, single electron transistors, and superconducting qubits. Occurance of defect tunneling despite their coupling to phonons is viewed as a hallmark of weak defect-phonon coupling. This is since strong coupling to phonons results in significant phonon dressing and suppresses tunneling in two-level tunneling defects effectively. Here we determine the dynamics of a tunneling defect in a crystal strongly coupled to phonons incorporating the full 3D geometry in our description. Wefind that inversion symmetric tunneling is not dressed by phonons whereas other tunneling pathways are dressed by phonons and, thus, are suppressed by strong defect-phonon coupling. We provide the linear acoustic and dielectric response functions for a tunneling defect in a crystal for strong defect-phonon coupling. This allows direct experimental determination of the defect-phonon coupling. The singling out of inversion-symmetric tunneling states in single tunneling defects is complementary to their dominance of the low energy excitations in strongly disordered solids as a result of inter-defect interactions for large defect concentrations. This suggests that inversion symmetric TLSs play a unique role in the low energy properties of disordered solids.

The two-state two-path model is introduced as a minimized model to describe the quantum dynamics of an electronic wave packet in the vicinity of a conical intersection. It involves two electronic potential energy surfaces each of which hosts a pair of quasi-classical trajectories over which the wave packet is assumed to be delocalized. When both trajectories evolve dynamically either diabatically or adiabatically, the full wave packet dynamics shows only features of the dynamics around avoided level crossings in the vicinity of the conical intersection. When one trajectory evolves adiabatically whereas the other trajectory follows a diabatic evolution, quantum mechanical interference of the wave packet components on each path generates Stueckelberg oscillations in the transition probability. These are surprisingly robust against a dissipative environment and, thus, should be a marker for conical intersections.

Environmental noise leads to dephasing and relaxation in a quantum system. Often, a rigorous treatment of multiple noise sources within a system-bath approach is not possible. We discuss the influence of environmental fluctuations on a quantum system whose dynamics is dephasing already due to a phenomenologically treated additional noise source. For this situation, we develop a path-integral approach, which allows us to treat the system-environment coupling in a numerically exact way, and additionally we extend standard perturbative approaches. We observe strong deviations between the numerically exact and the perturbative results even for weak system-bath coupling. This shows that standard perturbative approaches fail for additional, even weak, system-bath couplings if the system dynamics is already dissipative.

Environmental rocking ratchet: Environmental rectification by a harmonically driven avoided crossing
(2017)

We propose a rocking ratchet designed as a symmetric quantum two-state system driven by a single periodic harmonic force and influenced symmetrically by thermal fluctuations. We show that the necessary broken symmetry can dynamically be achieved by a thermal environment that couples to the energy difference between the two states and the tunnel coupling between them. The quantum two-state system is driven by the harmonic periodic drive through its avoided crossing. The correspondingly driven dissipative quantum dynamics results on average in a finite population difference between both states. This then causes directed particle transport.